Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Thanks for the kind words about the seminar, everybody. Be careful, though... what you say in public may find its way into promos.

Read Jim's comment re "Permission" on the last post. Everything he said was right on, but it still needs to go further.

We are, all of us, masses of potential. No matter how unathletic or weak or uncoordinated we feel, we can still do amazing things with our bodies. We can run and climb and dance and if you don't feel like that, you can touch your thumb to each of your fingers, or at least wiggle your eyebrows.

No matter how dumb we feel, or tired, we can still learn new things. Every day. The difference between the guys who spent three years on the mission in Iraq and my first three months was that I worked at the language. No smarter, no gift-- I just spent a little time each night writing out the letters, the time that so many others spent watching TV.

Along with this mass of potential, we are also little bundles of rules. Stuff we have been fed since childhood. Some of it is good. You need to put curbs on temper tantrums because things that are cute at thirty pounds are deadly at 200. But some of it is outdated. Some of it was always wrong. Some of these rules not only limit what we do, but even what we think and what we can see.

So yes, when we talk about permission in self-defense it is permission to break the rules against hurting. Permission to let go of our normal, civilized, peaceful self-image. Permission to decide that this shit isn't working and maybe the boss will freak and IAU will get involved and go for the higher level of force... (and this is huge, because a lot of the really bad decisions are a way of protecting the rules themselves. Think about that.)

But it is soooo much bigger than that. What could you be? What could you do right now? Why not? Wouldn't it be fun to laugh and run like a kid? Why don't you? Wouldn't it be useful to learn new things like a child? Do it.

"I can't, the brain doesn't grow dendrites as fast as an adult." Maybe, but try it and see how much faster they DO grow. What are you protecting, what are the rules that say that adults can't laugh and play like children? Because it is the same set of rules that sometimes keep a women from defending herself or make an officer freeze when he needs to fight for his life.

I hate going off on these rants. They start sounding not only touchy-feely, but like every self-help guru out there.
Here's the deal:
  • Get off your ass and do stuff
  • Challenge your own assumptions
  • Have fun
You've spent your whole life trying to be a good person. You're also a perfectly good animal.
Go play.


Terry said...

I love this post, Rory.
Is this going to be expanded upon in 7?

Samy said...

I completely agree.

To add, from my own experience, I find so many people "limit themselves" too much. Like you say, we follow assumed rules without questioning them. I like to say, look at the reason theses "rules" (whether it be real, assumed, "self-imposed") exist, and use your own judgment on when/how to follow it, or just using it as a guide.

Too many people are worried about perception and image. Which is why, like you say, we forget our previous child tendencies to really live, laugh and learn.

Any me experiences are mostly outside of violence... but what you say can really be applied in so many ways in your everyday life.

Michaela said...

Oh! The places you'll go!


David said...

Wish I could've made it. Maybe next time!

Rory said...

Nope, Terry. "7" covers different things: legalities and ethics; violence dynamics; avoidance/escape and de-escalation; counter ambush; breaking the freeze; the fight itself; and aftermath.

Jim (and Samy) it's hard to break out of a comfort zone. It just is. But the pay-off is huge.

Michaela- A friend with a similar name used to quote Dr. Suess to inmates. She was an inspiration.

David- Make it happen...